Resistance is futile.
During daylight repose it’s hard to detect,
‘neath midnight fur lies something suspect.
When in slumber’s neglect,
as souls drift unchecked,
and guard abandons gate,
the unassuming beast’s powers awake.
Whatever you do,
however your stir,
steer away from its beams,
tread away from the light.
Keep eyes trained to the floor
and aim for the door.
I’ve reduced myself to begging. When I read that Bossy was planning another cross-country odyssey to promote the book she didn’t write and meet other non-published bloggers to exchange autographs and rinse their mouths with high-quality vodka and micro-brewery beer, I had to find a way to lure her to Detroit. Good news: She’s been here before. Bad news: She’s been here before.
How to lure Bossy, whose hair curls the most,
Statuesque Bossy who lives on the East Coast,
Bossy with the big, big dog,
Bossy of the funny blog.
On my knees I’ll plead and beg,
and if she shows, on my face an egg.
For she has written a fabulous (no)book,
and I have lured without a hook.
Since a handful of other Detroit-area and Michigan bloggers have secured coveted pinpoints on her proposed travel route, why not add the humble MomZombie to the itinerary? What could bloggers in sunny Southern California or the Mighty Rockies offer Bossy that we couldn’t here in the fabulous, calloused left hand of America? Could it be the 2 a.m. slider run on the last visit that perked Bossy’s nose in our direction? Stay tuned for all the exciting details.
I’ve met some Detroit-area bloggers, such as Teacher Mommy of Diapers and Dragons, and Melissa of Rock and Drool. Discovering the person behind the persona is an experience in itself. Reading your blog, I learn your pet peeves, hopes, joys, sorrows and dreams. Sitting across from you at a table , I learn how tall you are, if you look 10 pounds thinner in real life than on your blog, what your voice (and your laugh) sound like, if you bite your nails and if we click. If the divine Ms. Bossy comes to Detroit or a nearby suburb I’ll probably faint, and when I come to, with a lump on my head, I’ll shake her hand and utter awkward, inappropriate things until someone calls the police or pours water over my lumpy head. And that will be a very interesting blog post for the future.
On a less-than-happy note: Thank you, readers for your words of encouragement about my terminally ill friend. I’m still slamming into brick walls. At some point I may have to accept that I won’t be able to say good-bye to her. I understand that you can know a person for many years but stay a total stranger to her immediate family.
My kitten is now a cat and has settled down. In fact, he bears almost no resemblance to the cat we plucked from the shelter. No more toppled planters and shattered lamps. The curtains remain hanging on their rods. The scars have healed and faded. We all can sleep at night. The surge of feline testosterone that fueled his frenzy has slowed to a trickle now that the neutering has finally worked its magic.
Speaking of trickles, work comes my way in drips and drops. I’m grateful to take on anything I think is reasonable, but waiting 30 days or longer to get paid just sucks. I now understand the stories of the dirt-poor lottery winners who blow their millions in a matter of months on fuzzy pink guitars, cases of Cheetos and more lottery tickets. When I do get some money in my pocket, I have no desire to stash some into my deflated retirement accounts. Nope. It’s off to the mall or hair salon or liquor store.
Patience and determination pay off in the end. My husband and I will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary in a few months. This is the longest relationship either of us has logged on our odometers. Since this is my second marriage, I’ve worked hard to make it work as the odds are stacked against us. I’m happy to report that marrying the right person for the right reasons makes a difference. That and a little begging now and then.
Kitten-becoming-a-cat has found a way to calm himself. It lasts maybe five minutes. It’s a start.
We’ll never replace the one we lost in January, but we are happy to have a furniture- and curtain-shredding, leg climbing, food- and water-dish spilling, meowing little troublemaker in our midst again.
Today we gave this cat a funeral. We are that kind of family.
No, when he was alive he didn’t sleep on a canopy bed with Laura Ashley sheets and we didn’t spoon out his Fancy Feast into a crystal goblet. We treat our cats like cats, which means they sleep on our bed.
This guy was just the best damn cat I’ve ever had. And at five years of age, I think he deserved some kind of send-off for cashing out so early.
His death wasn’t unexpected. Around Thanksgiving he became freakishly ill. After three days’ treatment at the animal hospital for liver failure from unknown bacterial causes, he came home to what surely was an extended visit. We knew he’d never recover fully to the prancing, lithe hunter he once was. Seemingly overnight, he withered to a gaunt, jaundiced animal driven by an unsatiable hunger.
But he was still our funny little valentine.
This cat forced us to adopt him when we really went to the cat rescue to bring home his brother, who really didn’t want to go with us. So, we brought home both. We are that kind of family. This matched set of cats, little salt and pepper shakers, were a source of great joy and frustration and copious amounts of cat hair on the furniture.
But this one, he was something different. He nudged his wet nose into our lives and we fell in love instantly.
This cat, who as a kitten, pried off a cold-air return vent in our spare room, plunged into our ductwork and had to be fished out of a hole cut into a duct.
This cat, who dug a hole under the property-line fence and fell into the neighbor’s pool last summer, somehow managed to get out and crawl home covered in algae and black slime.
This cat, who twice chased chipmunks into the house, holding them hostage under the couch until we discovered his secret stash.
This cat, who was so smart and trainable he plucked a set of wind chimes in the kitchen when he wanted a treat. If you threw a toy mouse or ball of foil, he’d fetch it like a dog.
I don’t know why this 5-year-old cat died swiftly of an unknown illness while grizzled alley cats get run over by trucks and just keep going. I don’t even ask anymore.
I just thanked him for five years of love and adventure.
Be happy wherever you are, my little valentine.
Today’s lesson: Read the sign above and replace the word “game” with “life.” Life should be like a game and we should be able to gain some amusement from it, right? Although we will be offended – campaign advertising and network TV programming guarantee that – we should be able to enjoy the show without walking away.
Seems I’ve been spending some time at the carnival lately.
First, the acrobatic feats:
One of our cats mysteriously fell into the neighbor’s pool. The neighbor’s yard is properly fenced. It’s not our place to judge that the pool, with it’s murky black and green water, looks like the home to this creature:
Following the discovery of our soaking wet, shivering, howling, muck-covered cat on our doorstep, we follow the paw prints to a hole in the fence at the back of our lot. A feat our dear cat accomplished by prying off the lattice work at the bottom.
I peer under the fence to see the once sparkling, chlorinated pool next door is now a swamp o’ horrors, topped with a thick layer of green algae. I’m not sure what series of events led our cat to plunge into the depths or how he clawed his way out. All I can think is that it’s lucky he got out. This is the same cat who pried off one of our heating vents in the wall and plummeted into the ductwork of our gas furnace. Clearly for him, life is a game.
Next, the fireworks:
Somehow Girl from the East managed to procure a copper penny, jam it behind one of those little button night lights plugged into the electrical outlet, and trip the circuit for our second-floor bath and office.
I was drying my hair when this happened so the sudden power outage startled me. I stepped out of the bathroom to find my baby girl on the floor just outside the door, the nearby electrical outlet blooming with black streaks.
The nightlight was blackened.
The penny melted at the contact point.
Miraculously, Girl from the East was OK.
You know those moments when you’re looking at something happening, but it’s not registering with central command? Like when you stumble upon a big, wild animal in the woods or when one of your customers at the bank pulls out a handgun and announces a holdup? This was one of those moments. All I could do was hold my girl tight and hope she was OK. She was fine. But the thought of “what if?” wouldn’t leave me for days.
We’ve had a few close calls this year. Girl from the East had the big spill and six stitches. We had the car wreck. In each case, we were jarred a little bit harder. We were forced to examine what the heck we were doing (or not doing). Some things (car accident) happen and cannot be prevented. Other things (big spill, almost electrocution) can be avoided. The trick it seems is to keep perspective and get out of the park before the scary carnies get you.
I think that no matter how long I live, I’ll never understand certain human behaviors.
Take today’s experience. I had just left our downtown waterfront park after an enjoyable morning walking, dodging jets of water at the public fountain, and having my baby girl take her first-ever carousel ride.
I had just merged into expressway traffic heading home when I started seeing dark, roundish objects bouncing on the road ahead. I watched as a few cars swerved to avoid hitting the unknown items.
Before I had time to do anything I was upon one of them. I realized at closer range that this was an animal of some sort. At first I thought it was a dead squirrel. Then it looked like a rat, but it wasn’t dead, it was twisting around, legs flailing.
My mind was racing, trying to make sense of what I was seeing. I’ve seen rats many times, but never on the highway.
Then I heard it go under my wheel. I glanced in my rear-view mirror to confirm my worst fear. Suddenly the “rat” stopped rolling, upended itself and started sprinting toward the shoulder.
That’s when I realized in absolute horror that is wasn’t a rat* at all, but a month-old tabby kitten. It rolled a few more times, obviously mortally wounded, before making it to the shoulder.
I looked forward again to find more kittens on the highway. It struck me then that SOMEONE HAD DUMPED A LITTER OF KITTENS ONTO THE HIGHWAY. From an overpass? From a car? I couldn’t guess. I couldn’t even imagine the sick mind that could conjure up this as a solution to the pressing problem of what to do with an unwanted litter. Worse yet, I wondered if it was a sick prank.
By now, I was so distraught I had to pull over. I desperately wanted to get out of the car and chase after every one of those poor, doomed creatures. I wanted to scoop them up and wrap them all in blankets and nurse them back to health.
But I had Girl from the East in the backseat. I was alone. It was the inner-city. Traffic was fairly heavy and moving quickly. I couldn’t risk my daughter’s safety for this seemingly hopeless cause.
But I couldn’t bring myself to just drive away, either. Didn’t anyone else notice these animals in distress — in the middle of freakin’ 70 mph traffic?
Finally I got it together enough to call Mr. Husband to get the phone number for the Humane Society shelter in our area. I got through and reported the incident.
But my heart sank. What could they do? If they could even find the exact spot where I saw the kittens, I’m sure it would be too late, if they even had the resources to send someone out.
I took a deep breath and pulled back into traffic. The image of that gray furry kitten — I saw its face — as it tumbled toward my front grille — is not going to leave me for quite some time.
I’ll never understand the motivations behind abandonment of any living creature no matter how small or perceived as insignificant. I’ll never understand some people’s complete lack of conscience in dealing with the results of their own irresponsibility. I’ll never understand how others, upon witnessing these behaviors, will continue on their merry way without so much as a second thought.
It’s haunting me that I didn’t do more. I know life can be cruel. Life in the big city can be so heartless sometimes. Another day in the city.
*Edited to clarify: In no way am I suggesting that the lives of squirrels and rats are less significant than kittens. It’s only that rats and squirrels are wild animals. If they found their way onto a highway, it most likely was not at the hands of humans. I’d still feel horrible inside if a family of squirrels or rats were being knocked around like pinballs on the highway.